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Hal Sever

Hal Sever

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BornBucklow, March 3 1910
Internationals10 caps between 1936 and 1938
InductedEngland v New Zealand (November 19, 2005)

The following article has been adapted from the original by Dai Llewellyn, which focused on two players. It has been changed to highlight only the selected inductee’s information.

The Sale wing made just 10 appearances for England, hardly long enough to etch your name into the history books of the game. Even his big moment, on his debut against the 1936 New Zealand tourists, was overshadowed.

It was only the third meeting between the two countries following the tours by the ‘Originals’ at Crystal Palace in 1905 and the ‘Invincibles’ at Twickenham in 1925, both of which had ended in victory for the All Blacks.

New Zealand arrived at Twickenham on the back of a one-point defeat by Wales in Cardiff, having disposed quite comfortably of Scotland and Ireland in their opening two Tests.

By a quirk of fate the match was also Prince Alexander Obolensky’s first appearance for England. Coincidentally he too was a wing, although there the similarities ended. Obolensky was a Russian prince, Sever, while being a member of the privileged classes, was still a commoner.

Perhaps that could explain why Obolensky stole Sever’s thunder, but more likely is the fact that the Prince had marked his debut with two scintillating tries before Sever was eventually given a look-in.

But Sever’s was no bad score, even if it did not have quite the drama and exhilaration of the pacy Russian’s two scores. Centre Peter Cranmer made a break late in the game, found Sever and the Sale flier stormed over near the posts for what was to be the first of five tries for his country.

It sealed an historic moment for England by helping them to their first victory over the All Blacks. Another 37 years was to pass before the All Blacks were beaten by the All Whites again.

Fortunately for Sever his international career lasted longer than Obolensky’s – half a dozen matches more to be precise, which was certainly long enough to allow him to make his mark for his country. The following season saw him land a drop goal to help seal victory over Wales at HQ and in the next match against Ireland again at Twickenham came his grandest moment.

There were some five minutes left of the match when, from a scrum, England opted to run the ball from inside their 25. The ball travelled down the line to Sever on the left wing. He scorched down the touchline on an elusive run that left defender after would-be tackler floundering in his wake, before diving over for the match-winning try with an Irishman clinging to his back.

Sadly, Sever died in June 2005.

Article by Dai Llewellyn


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